The death Tuesday of former New York Giants safety and Super Bowl champion Tyler Sash left his family, friends and fans in a state of shock. Jeff Woody, an Iowa University alumnus who met Sash (a former University of Iowa player) on a “handful of occasions,” was just one of those people. The former college running back wrote a touching post on his blog Tuesday, which was later shared by the Des Moines Register.

Woody found out about Sash’s untimely death through a text message from a former teammate. “My immediate response was to call him a liar,” Woody wrote. “He backed it up with dark, unsettling facts, confirming the depressing truth.”

A cause of death has not been revealed, but an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday. Twitter users surmised Sash, 27, committed suicide or overdosed, though authorities have made no mention of these theories. Woody didn’t postulate, but he share did share this: “I have a good idea as to what was going on in his soul ...”

Once a football great at Iowa, Sash was suspended for four games by the NFL in 2012 after he tested positive for Adderall, a drug used to treat ADHD. He claimed he didn’t know the drug was illegal to use in the NFL since he had a prescription. The Giants cut him in 2013. He was arrested in May 2014 after he led police on a motorized scooter chase and pleaded guilty to public intoxication. He was fined $65.

Woody wrote about being an athlete and how having that as one's only identity can be dangerous. “If I identify myself as athlete and the sport is taken away from me, I am no longer me. I am no longer worthy to be myself. I have a hole where I used to be,” he said.

While Woody credits his wife, Hannah Woody, for allowing him to see his worth, he wished someone had done the same for Sash. “I was told what I'm worth. I just wish I was able to talk to Tyler now to tell him what he was as Tyler,” he said. “My plea is that in the next encounter with an athlete of any level, ask them about their sport, sure. But ask them about what makes them who they are beyond sports. The next time you think about cussing at a quarterback because he threw a bad pass, remember what you are telling them.”

Woody finished: “Athlete, son, friend, Hawkeye, Super Bowl champion, shoe geek. Rest in peace, Tyler Sash. Every piece of you.”

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